My 40x Telescope at the Isra University.

2nd of February/2010:

One of my friends a few days ago, talked to a teacher in class about my telescope project. The teacher was astonished and said, Bilal is that true you have built a telescope??? I replied positively, so she asked me to bring it to University. And today I took my telescope to the University with a power-point presentation 🙂

The Dean of our Faculty of Computer and Management Sciences, Mr. Dr. Muhammad Iqbal Bhatti Ph.D was the Chief Guest in my telescope project’s presentation. Other senior staff including Mr. Naveed Ghani, Mr. Hammad Qazi and many other teachers were also present. There were also senior students who were hooting in start, but later got straight after some chit chat.

It was basically just a 5-minute presentation, and the Q & A session took more than 15 minutes.

I started my presentation with my telescope’s design, specification, technology, and physics involved in it. I supported all that with the help of mathematical formulas. Then there was the question and answer session, the main questions were regarding the efficiency of this telescope, its magnifying power and all that, but when the Dean Sir started asking questions, I thought I would have my heart failed, but I answered all his questions to his satisfaction. The last question was asked by Mr. Naveed Ghani about the kinds of prisms. He asked ” OK tell me what are the kinds of prisms”. I said “Well, there are several, Astronomy equipments have mostly BAK-4 and Porro prisms”. He again asked for the definition of these prism types. I simply replied that there is a difference of coatings and geometry.

And then my presentation came to an end. When it was over, the Dean Sir asked me  ” Have you ever worked on reflecting telescopes?, I said ” Yes Sir, my next project is a reflector telescope and its magnification will be 447x.” and he said Good luck with that.

Then students tried my telescope to look at far away terrestrial objects. All had mouths wide open like 😮

Constellation Kahanian

Constellation, also known as Burj in Arabic and Urdu is the area of sky. You can think sky as World and Countries as Constellations. Countries have divided world into several regions. In the same way, constellations have divided the whole sky in 88 pieces. Out of these 88 constellations, 12 are Zodiac constellations. This means that the Sun appears to be in these 12 constellations for 12 months. Each month the Sun changes its constellation and moves to another and in total passes from all 12 constellations of the zodiac.

You surely have heard people saying, “My sign is Scorpio, mine is Gemini, his sign is Virgo, this in reality means that when that person was born, the Sun was passing through the Constellation of Scorpio”.

Out of all these 88 constellations, 48 were defined by Ptolemy 150 CE and 40 were defined by numerous scientists after 1603 CE.

The constellations mainly are named on the characters of Greek mythological stories. They are named after animals, persons, instruments etc.

Every night, Greek mythologies pass from overheads. Orion the Hunter faces Taurus the Bull, Scorpio the Scorpion goes to Orion the Hunter to negotiate with him and later kill him. Constellations are just human imagination. Long ago when people didn’t have any other activity, they used these stars as symbols and project their stories on the sky. You may find that constellations don’t exactly match the names they carry because they are just human imagination and not a work of nature.

Clear Skies.

Saad Abbasi, A Rising AstroPhotographer

Saad Abbasi, an amateur astronomer from Bahawalpur, Pakistan has recently hopped into the field of AstroPhotography. His imagery of Pinwheel Galaxy (Messier 101) in wide field amazed the astronomers all over the Pakistan.

He used a SBIG ST8300M CCD camera mounted on a Takahashi FSQ-85EDX telescope.

The image shows spectacular view of a spectacular galaxy. The image is a masterpiece with great focus and Ultra-wide field. While flowing throw the image horizontally and vertically, you may also spot some other galaxies.

The Pinwheel Galaxy also known as Messier 101 and NGC 5457 is a face-on spiral galaxy in Constellation Ursa Major (Big Bear). It was discovered by Pierre Méchain on March 27, 1781 and was later added in the Messier catalogue by Charles Messier. The Pinwheel Galaxy is located 27 Million Light Years away from Earth. Don’t know how much is 27 Million Light Years? It is approximately 2500000000000000000000000 meters.

Congratulations to Mr. Saad Abbasi over this fabulous photograph. Wish you best of luck, keep it up 🙂

M101 - The Pinwheel Galaxy by Mr. Saad Abbasi

Taking Full Advantage of Loadsheding

At 9:45, I went up at terrace with my 10×50 binoculars,

Started Observing,

First looked at Canopus (Alpha Carinae), its a very beautiful sight even with naked eyes, and with binoculars, this star looks spectacular,

Then looked at the Beehive cluster in Cancer and was able to resolve about 30 stars in it.

Then I showed both these objects to my sister and she was very happy to see all those objects which weren’t visible with the unaided eyes.

Then I pulled out a chair, sat and the observed a Double Star in the Ursa Major (Big Bear). Mizar, which is a star in Ursa Major forms a double star with Alcor.

By now, electrons again started to flow in wires so I wound up the Astronomy session for toady.

This is the brightest star of Constellation Carina, its name is Canopus.

The Beehive Cluster in Cancer, its the 44th object in Messier Catalogue.

All Night Astronomy @ CATI

17-March-2010

I was sleeping in the morning, when I got up around 9 AM, I saw that there was a missed call by Omer bhai from Lahore. I wondered why a call from him so early in the morning.

I called him back. I didn’t have any idea what news was coming to me.
I got notified by Omer bhai that Mr. Khalid Marwat from Karachi is in Hyderabad with his telescopes. He told me that He will be at CATI, I didn’t have any idea what and where CATI is. Kept wondering whole day long about it. Finally in the evening I asked my father to take me there.

I called Mr. Marwat and asked him where he was in Hyderabad, He said “I am at Hyderabad Airport”. I was eager to join, and got to Hyderabad Airport by 9:30 PM with my family. The guards asked my name there, when I told them my name, they said Oh, please this way, Sir is waiting for you.

At the airport, I saw them sitting on the runway. I first saw Meade 8″. I thought that Mr. Marwat had only brought Meade. But when he said “look there” I saw the giant Obsession 18″ in the darkness, I got so much excited which I can not express in words.

 The sky condition was not very good, but even then it was better than metropolitan skies.

First we talked about telescopes, stars, constellations, planetary motion and many other things. Mr. Marwat explained all the points very clearly. I liked his explanations a lot. Few people also joined after wards. The public was not much, there were about 15 people including me. And 2 scopes and a binoculars were too much for 15 people.

Mr. Marwat aligned his Obsession 18″ and showed us Saturn at 11x Magnification. Unfortunately, the collimation of the Obsession was greatly disturbed, so Saturn wasn’t looking impressive, but even then it was very beautiful. Then we observed a double star in Ursa Major. By that time, Meade was pointed towards Mars and people enjoyed looking at Mars.

Then Mr. Marwat showed me Open Cluster M35 through the Meade. It was a very crisp view. I loved it alot.

M35 - An Open Cluster in the Constellation Gemini. 2800 Light Years away from the Earth

At 12:00 AM, The Date Changed. And people started to leave for their homes. They had a car’s lights turned on for some Mobile Phone Flashless Photography. My sister also photographed me with Obsession 18″. Then all the people left except Me and my Family.

I was looking at heavens through the Obsession 18″. My family kept asking me to leave because it was so late by then. I said, ok 10 minutes, ok 5 minutes, ok just this last object 🙂 So my Mom asked me whether you want to go to home or not. I was waiting for this question and immediately said “No Mom, I wanna stay here whole night”. Thankfully, my parents agreed.

Mr. Marwat gave me his Sky & Telescope jacket because of plenty of mosquitoes. I also tied a handkerchief on my head because I had no hair and mosquitoes were attacking from all directions.

With Pakistan's Biggest Telescope - Obsession 18"

My family also left at 12:30 and left me at CATI. Then I and Mr. Marwat started some serious observations.

Since the Obsession’s collimation was disturbed, so we decided to collimate it first. I never even knew what collimation is and why it is needed. Mr. Marwat told me about it. And then I assisted him in collimating the scope. When it was collimated, we again went for Saturn at 35x and then at 115x. We got to see 3 moons of Saturn. Saturn was looking just like a Yellow Cham Cham.

I then requested Mr. Marwat to show the Sombrero Galaxy, He said OK lets hunt Sombrero. And my this request wasted 1 precious hour. Sombrero was playing Hide ‘n Seek with us. Couldn’t find it after many tries. But in the 2nd hour we finally got it. Cool view. Really liked it a lot.

M104 - NGC4594 - The Sombrero Galaxy

Then we moved to Virgo-Coma cluster of galaxies. From Vindemiatrix, we did 6.6 hops to west at 0.75 degree fov, and found M60, M59, went 2.5 more hops and found M58. We did lots and lots of calculations of fov and angular degrees and arc-minutes to get to Virgo-Coma cluster.

Throughout the night, the security guards kept sleeping near the telescopes. After a quarter hour or so, one of them would wake up and ask, Sir are you still awake? And then again he would sleep.

Then I turned Obsession towards Mars. It was bright red object moving fastly through field of view. The magnification was lower so I couldn’t see much details.

Mars by the Hubble Space Telescope

Due to plenty of dew, Meade was packed up.

Observed Albireo too. Albireo appears to be a single star through naked eye, but it can be resolved into a double star.

Albireo is the fifth brightest star in the Constellation of Cygnus.

Then I turned Obsession towards my own Zodiac, Scorpio. Antares was looking awesome in telescope. Moving some down from Antares, found M6 and M7. Tried much to find M4 but couldn’t do it from Obsession. Held Nikon 7×50 and tried to find M4 and this time I was able to locate it.

One thing I liked about Obsession 18″ was the ease of handling it. This is a giant telescope but one can very easily handle it and use it to find any object in the sky.

Then we turned towards the Ring Nebula near Vega. It was looking very great and I also got some hints of colors in it. The centre of the nebula was looking blue while the outer part was appearing to be pink.

M57 - The Ring Nebula in the Constellation of Lyra

We also tried to find Whirlpool Galaxy, 3 hops to west from Merak, and 2.5 hops to south. Found but disappointing view.

At about 5 AM, Mr. Marwat showed me Milky Way’s arm in Sagittarius. Then I made to “Double Double” myself, asked Mr. Marwat about it and he showed me D.D in telescope. Can’t forget that view.

Then Mr. Marwat pointed his laser towards the location of The Coathanger, I saw it in 7×50, Ah, what a view it was.

At 5:35 AM, I sat in the back trunk of Mr. Marwat’s car and noted the objects observed.

Mr. Marwat then marked the session end by photographing the Sun.

Venue - The Hyderabad Airport - The rising Sun is seen in the bumper of the car.

Packed up the telescopes and left the runway at 6:58. At 7:00 AM, I finally came to know that CATI stands for Civil Aviation Training Institute.

Got freshen up in CAA guest house. Had breakfast. On breakfast table, discussed toooooooo much Astronomy and telescope making with Mr. Marwat.

At 9:07 AM, we left the guest house, at 9:26 AM; Mr. Marwat dropped me at my home and then left for Karachi.

What a great night it was. A trip to heavens with 18″ scope was an experience which I can never forget. Thanks to Mr. Khalid Marwat.

My father in white, Me, Mr. Qaisar and Meade 8"

2 Unknown people, Mr. Qaisar, Me, My Father and Obsession 18"

All Night Astronomy At CATI

17-March-2010

I was sleeping in the morning, when I got up around 9 AM, I saw that there was a missed call by Omer bhai from Lahore. I wondered why a call from him so early in the morning.

I called him back. I didn’t have any idea what news was coming to me.
I got notified by Omer bhai that Mr. Khalid Marwat from Karachi is in Hyderabad with his telescopes. He told me that He will be at CATI, I didn’t have any idea what and where CATI is. Kept wondering whole day long about it. Finally in the evening I asked my father to take me there.

I called Mr. Marwat and asked him where he was in Hyderabad, He said “I am at Hyderabad Airport”. I was eager to join, and got to Hyderabad Airport by 9:30 PM with my family. The guards asked my name there, when I told them my name, they said Oh, please this way, Sir is waiting for you.

At the airport, I saw them sitting on the runway. I first saw Meade 8″. I thought that Mr. Marwat had only brought Meade. But when he said “look there” I saw the giant Obsession 18″ in the darkness, I got so much excited which I can not express in words.

The sky condition was not very good, but even then it was better than metropolitan skies.

First we talked about telescopes, stars, constellations, planetary motion and many other things. Mr. Marwat explained all the points very clearly. I liked his explanations a lot. Few people also joined after wards. The public was not much, there were about 15 people including me. And 2 scopes and a binoculars were too much for 15 people.

Mr. Marwat aligned his Obsession 18″ and showed us Saturn at 11x Magnification. Unfortunately, the collimation of the Obsession was greatly disturbed, so Saturn wasn’t looking impressive, but even then it was very beautiful. Then we observed a double star in Ursa Major. By that time, Meade was pointed towards Mars and people enjoyed looking at Mars.

Then Mr. Marwat showed me Open Cluster M35 through the Meade. It was a very crisp view. I loved it alot.

Open Cluster M35 in Gemini

At 12:00 AM, The Date Changed. And people started to leave for their homes. They had a car’s lights turned on for some Mobile Phone Flashless Photography. My sister also photographed me with Obsession 18″. Then all the people left except Me and my Family.

With Obsession 18"

I was looking at heavens through the Obsession 18″. My family kept asking me to leave because it was so late by then. I said, ok 10 minutes, ok 5 minutes, ok just this last object 🙂 So my Mom asked me whether you want to go to home or not. I was waiting for this question and immediately said “No Mom, I wanna stay here whole night”. Thankfully, my parents agreed.

Mr. Marwat gave me his Sky & Telescope jacket because of plenty of mosquitoes. I also tied a handkerchief on my head because I had no hair and mosquitoes were attacking from all directions.

With Pakistan's Biggest Telescope - Obsession 18"

My family also left at 12:30 and left me at CATI. Then I and Mr. Marwat started some serious observations.

Since the Obsession’s collimation was disturbed, so we decided to collimate it first. I never even knew what collimation is and why it is needed. Mr. Marwat told me about it. And then I assisted him in collimating the scope. When it was collimated, we again went for Saturn at 35x and then at 115x. We got to see 3 moons of Saturn. Saturn was looking just like a Yellow Cham Cham.

I then requested Mr. Marwat to show the Sombrero Galaxy, He said OK lets hunt Sombrero. And my this request wasted 1 precious hour. Sombrero was playing Hide ‘n Seek with us. Couldn’t find it after many tries. But in the 2nd hour we finally got it. Cool view. Really liked it a lot.

Sombrero Galaxy in Infrared

Then we moved to Virgo-Coma cluster of galaxies. From Vindemiatrix, we did 6.6 hops to west at 0.75 degree fov, and found M60, M59, went 2.5 more hops and found M58. We did lots and lots of calculations of fov and angular degrees and arc-minutes to get to Virgo-Coma cluster.

Throughout the night, the security guards kept sleeping near the telescopes. After a quarter hour or so, one of them would wake up and ask, Sir are you still awake? And then again he would sleep.

Then I turned Obsession towards Mars. It was bright red object moving fastly through field of view. The magnification was lower so I couldn’t see much details.

Planet Mars

Due to plenty of dew, Meade was packed up.

Observed Albireo too. Albireo appears to be a single star through naked eye, but it can be resolved into a double star.

Double Star Albireo in Constellation Cygnus the Swan

Then I turned Obsession towards my own Zodiac, Scorpio. Antares was looking awesome in telescope. Moving some down from Antares, found M6 and M7. Tried much to find M4 but couldn’t do it from Obsession. Held Nikon 7×50 and tried to find M4 and this time I was able to locate it.

One thing I liked about Obsession 18″ was the ease of handling it. This is a giant telescope but one can very easily handle it and use it to find any object in the sky.

Then we turned towards the Ring Nebula near Vega. It was looking very great and I also got some hints of colors in it. The centre of the nebula was looking blue while the outer part was appearing to be pink.

M57 - The Ring Nebula in Constellation Lyra

We also tried to find Whirlpool Galaxy, 3 hops to west from Merak, and 2.5 hops to south. Found but disappointing view.

At about 5 AM, Mr. Marwat showed me Milky Way’s arm in Sagittarius. Then I made to “Double Double” myself, asked Mr. Marwat about it and he showed me D.D in telescope. Can’t forget that view.

Then Mr. Marwat pointed his laser towards the location of The Coathanger, I saw it in 7×50, Ah, what a view it was. A really nice view, it seemed like I was looking at a hanger in reality and not at stars.

At 5:35 AM, I sat in the back trunk of Mr. Marwat’s car and noted the objects observed.

Mr. Marwat then marked the session end by photographing the Sun.

Venue - The Hyderabad Airport - The rising Sun is seen in the bumper of the car.

Packed up the telescopes and left the runway at 6:58. At 7:00 AM, I finally came to know that CATI stands for Civil Aviation Training Institute.

Got freshen up in CAA guest house. Had breakfast. On breakfast table, discussed toooooooo much Astronomy and telescope making with Mr. Marwat.

At 9:07 AM, we left the guest house, at 9:26 AM; Mr. Marwat dropped me at my home and then left for Karachi.

What a great night it was. A trip to heavens with 18″ scope was an experience which I can never forget. Thanks to Mr. Khalid Marwat.

My father in white, Me, Mr. Qaisar and Meade 8"

2 Unknown People, Mr. Qaisar, Me, My Father and the Obsession 18"

My First Blog

Assalam-o-alaikum everyone, this is Bilal Mughal and welcome to my blog, this blog will present you with a weekly essay on any scientifc topic mostly astronomy since I am an Astronomer, and also will cover other Astronomy happenings in Pakistan,

Enjoy your visit and don’t forget to leave comments.